Brands break $1 billion barrier

by Eric Schroeder
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Gold Peak Tea has eclipsed $1 billion in sales.

ATLANTA — The Coca-Cola Co. reached another milestone this week when it announced that three more of its brands have eclipsed the $1 billion annual sales threshold, bringing to 20 the number of billion-dollar brands in the company’s portfolio.

The three newest brands to break the $1 billion barrier are Gold Peak, Fuze Tea and I Lohas.

“We are taking definitive steps to capture the enormous growth opportunities available to us in the global non-alcoholic ready-to-drink beverage industry,” said Muhtar Kent, chairman and chief executive officer, The Coca-Cola Co. “Through a strong global focus on building locally relevant and innovative brands, our company, together with a network of strong local bottling partners, has worked to successfully double the size of our billion-dollar brand portfolio in less than a decade.”

Since phasing out its Beverage Partners Worldwide ready-to-drink tea joint venture with Vevey, Switzerland-based Nestle S.A. in 2012, Coca-Cola has been on a mission to expand its tea business.

Gold Peak and Fuze Tea join Japan’s billion-dollar green tea brand, Ayataka, as Coca-Cola’s largest brands in the global R.-T.-D. tea category, each of which has been launched since 2006. Coca-Cola said the success of the brands has propelled its tea portfolio to substantially outpace the growth of the category globally over the past two years, while gaining market share on both a volume and value basis.

Gold Peak was introduced in 2006 and has been growing double digits since its launch. According to Coca-Cola, Gold Peak is one of the fastest-growing national iced tea brands and drove nearly 30% of all dollar growth in the ready-to-drink tea category in 2014. Gold Peak is sold in multiple varieties, including sweet, lemonade, unsweetened, diet, raspberry and green.

Fuze launched in 2012 in 14 international markets simultaneously. Since its introduction, the brand has expanded availability to nearly 40 markets around the world, reaching billion-dollar status in less than three years on the market. The Fuze tea line-up currently features more than 30 varieties, including black tea with lemon, black tea with peach, black tea with lemongrass and apple, green tea with mango and chamomile, and zero-calorie light tea. Fuze will launch in additional markets in 2015.

The third new billion-dollar brand for Coca-Cola is I Lohas. The water brand was introduced in Japan in 2009, and since its launch, it has become the No. 1 immediate consumption mineral water brand sold in Japan. Coca-Cola said it has taken steps to grow I Lohas with the introduction of a new line of single-serve 515-ml I Lohas sparkling beverages in plain and lemon flavors as well as a new larger 1,555-ml package in the convenience store channel.

Since 2007, Coca-Cola has added 10 brands to its billion-dollar portfolio across a broad range of beverage categories, including sparkling, juice, water and tea. Additions include Coca-Cola Zero, Simply, Minute Maid Pulpy, Del Valle, Bonaqua, Ayataka and vitaminwater.

In addition to its 20 billion-dollar brands, Coca-Cola said it has a pipeline of 16 sparkling and still brands that generate annual retail sales between $500 million and $1 billion — several of which are poised to become billion-dollar brands.
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